Recovery of strata managers debt collection fees under Section 80 of the SSMAct - New South Wales

27 Oct 2010

Many strata managers are charging the owners corporation  ‘fines’ or ‘arrears notice fees’ and seeking to recover these charges against the lot owner, pursuant to Section 80 of the Strata Schemes Management Act 1996 (SSMA.)

This author has been involved in recent Supreme and Federal Court Appeals and has just run three Local Court matters before the chief Civil Magistrate in NSW’s Downing Centre Local Court, and one matter before Magistrate O’Shane, where favourable judgments were given to the owners corporation on all issues relating to the recovery of costs pursuant to Section 80 of the Act (including strata manager's expenses.)

Strata managers can only charge fees/expenses/disbursements for debt recovery work as authorised, specified and itemised in their management agreements with the owners corporation. If strata managers charge these expenses pursuant to their management agreements, then they are recoverable against the lot owner, pursuant to Section 80 of the SSMA.

If a strata manager charges a fee that is not in their management agreement, or that they are not authorised to charge, then it can’t be recoverable.

In closing, if  strata managers are authorised to take recovery action and charge the relevant fees/expenses, etc., pursuant to the management agreements, then all debt recovery fees and charges should be recoverable against the lot owner, pursuant to Section 80 of the SSMA.

Source: Community Lifestyle Magazine - Daniel Radman, Grace Lawyers

Comments

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